It’s a beautiful piece of coastline. Stoney beaches, caves and rocks with holes big enough to walk through. Cliffs sparsely dotted with trees clinging to the gravelly undergrowth, bent and twisted into the shaped by the prevailing winds that mould them. As a kid, I sat in this very same spot, amongst the trees looking out across the Strait to the islands in the South. I watched as my family milled around the campsite, my parents, uncles and aunts preparing food, reading books and newspapers or collecting shellfish and fishing. My brothers, sisters and cousins jumping off Feeny’s, a favourite rock and swimming hole. I love the disfigured limbs of the taupata and karaka trees. They looked old, withered, weathered trunks bleached white, hard and smooth. Not easy to grip in a summer shower or the searing sun.
On windy days the clouds black shadows moved across the seascape at speed. I used to imagine them as shoals of fish just under the surface and was ready to run down to the boat to cast the bait net. Or they were migrating patches of seaweed, adrift on a predestined current searching for a new reef to cling too. I’d imagine them to be whales, giant stingrays or, my worst fear as a kid, sharks!
There are many colours and shades to the sea. Deep ocean green, silver, blue, aqua, teal. I never knew why the colours changed. Why sometimes inshore it was sliver mirror but out toward the horizon a dark cold blue. Why sometimes it’s a deep green, seemingly bottomless and scary and other times it’s crystal clear, like a mountain stream. It was while sitting on this hillside as a kid I figured that the sea, with its colours, shades and many moods is a reflection of the sky, of filtered light and shadows, a reflection of the environment that surrounds it. The green of the hills. It’s thousands of moods caused by the winds and the moon’s pull. From here I can see how the ocean shapes this land. Eats away at the rocks and cliffs like it’s some ancient revenge.
I belong to this place. We are all connected to the land, sea and the colour of sky.